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NFL draft grades 2017: Compiling grades for the entire draft

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Where did draft analysts agree and disagree?

The 2017 NFL draft is now in the rearview mirror, and it’s time to assign grades for each team. These snap judgment grades are made based on a number of factors.

Did teams reach on the player relative to where he was rated? Did they take a player too early compared to who else was on the board at the same position? Did they unnecessarily give up picks or give up too many in a trade? Do the players fit the system the team runs? Did the team gamble too hard on a character risk? Did it find a player with potential that can be developed?

All of those things, and more, factor into how a draft grade is put together. Is it too early to grade a draft? Of course it is. Are bad grades an indictment on the team and personnel members making the picks? Of course not. They’re a snapshot of right now. Which, of course, means we can revisit them in a year, or three years, or five years, or however many years is appropriate to grade a draft.

Below is look at how several people graded the 2017 NFL draft. That includes my own, which can be found here, as well as grades from Mark Maske of the Washington Post, Chris Burke of Sports Illustrated, Pete Prisco of CBS Sports and Nate Davis of USA Today. Go to their grades for full explanations that, unlike what you may think, aren’t just jargon thrown against the wall without any thought.

Arizona Cardinals

The Cardinals nailed pick after pick in this draft, starting with first-round selection Haason Reddick. Many liked the pick of guard Dorian Johnson in the fourth round because he should press for playing time early in his career. What puzzled most was not getting a quarterback.

SB Nation grade: B

CBS Sports: A

USA Today: B

Sports Illustrated: A-

Washington Post: B

Atlanta Falcons

The Super Bowl runner-up may have played the draft correctly to get back to the title game this season. Atlanta traded up in the first round and then back in the second round. That evened things out for Atlanta, which scored at all levels of the defense by getting a pass rusher, linebacker, and cornerback.

SB Nation grade: B-

CBS Sports: B+

USA Today: B-

Sports Illustrated: B

Washington Post: B

Baltimore Ravens

Another year, another draft where Ravens general manager Ozzie Newsome collects praise for his moves. Baltimore’s defense-heavy draft where the first four picks came on that side of the ball was well-liked. The value of defensive lineman Chris Wormley stands out in this class.

SB Nation grade: B-

CBS Sports: B-

USA Today: B

Sports Illustrated: A-

Washington Post: B

Buffalo Bills

The Bills got credit from dropping down from the No. 10 pick and acquiring a first-round pick in 2018. Finding starters with their first two selections was also praised.

SB Nation grade: B-

CBS Sports: B

USA Today: A-

Sports Illustrated: A-

Washington Post: B

Carolina Panthers

Taking the pressure off quarterback Cam Newton got the Panthers high marks from most. Christian McCaffrey and Curtis Samuel are new weapons for an offense that needed them. Defensive end Daeshon Hall was also considered a good selection in the third round.

SB Nation grade: C+

CBS Sports: B-

USA Today: A-

Sports Illustrated: B+

Washington Post: B

Chicago Bears

The Bears got ripped by most for the move up to draft quarterback Mitchell Trubisky at No. 2. Only drafting one player on defense was a critique of the Bears’ draft this year.

SB Nation grade: C

CBS Sports: D

USA Today: C-

Sports Illustrated: C-

Washington Post: D+

Cincinnati Bengals

The feelings about the Bengals draft centered on the selection of running back Joe Mixon in the second round. And it’s not even exactly about him punching a woman in the face. It was about the value of the pick since so many teams had him off their draft board. Some were averse to the pick of John Ross in the first round.

SB Nation grade: B-

CBS Sports: A

USA Today: B

Sports Illustrated: A-

Washington Post: C-

Cleveland Browns

The analysis on the deep class of picks by the Browns was loved by a few analysts. The Browns got a handful of good players, headlined by first-overall pick Myles Garrett. The lone dissenter criticized the Browns because they were supposed to have a good draft with five top-65 selections. The pick of Caleb Brantley was criticized by most.

SB Nation grade: B

CBS Sports: A

USA Today: A

Sports Illustrated: A-

Washington Post: C+

Dallas Cowboys

The needs for Dallas were at pass rusher and in the secondary, and it checked those off early in the draft. The Cowboys pulled in Taco Charlton to get after the quarterback in the first round and brought in potential starting cornerbacks Chidobe Awuzie and Jourdan Lewis.

SB Nation grade: B-

CBS Sports: B-

USA Today: B

Sports Illustrated: B+

Washington Post: B-

Denver Broncos

I knocked Denver’s draft because I felt the Broncos reached on a few picks. Conversely, Chris Burke of SI praised the Broncos for picking off several needs. They started by getting the offensive tackle they needed in the first round, but was Garett Bolles the right one? The selection of tight end Jake Butt in the fifth round was liked by many.

SB Nation grade: C+

CBS Sports: B

USA Today: B-

Sports Illustrated: A

Washington Post: B-

Detroit Lions

The Detroit draft didn’t excite some because the Lions didn’t get a pass rusher that was perceived as being a high need in the Motor City. Most credited the team for taking Florida linebacker Jarrad Davis in the first round, though.

SB Nation grade: C

CBS Sports: D

USA Today: C+

Sports Illustrated: B

Washington Post: B-

Green Bay Packers

Like Baltimore, Green Bay is a team with a veteran general manager in Ted Thompson who got high marks for picking needs on defense. The team got potential starters Kevin King and Josh Jones with its first two picks. The key to this draft could be Vince Biegel, who could be the team’s future as an edge rusher.

SB Nation grade: B+

CBS Sports: A

USA Today: A-

Sports Illustrated: B+

Washington Post: B

Houston Texans

Houston’s grade is dependent on the opinion of the acquisition of quarterback Deshaun Watson. Those who thought Houston gave up too much for him knocked the grade. Those who liked it gave high marks.

SB Nation grade: C+

CBS Sports: C+

USA Today: B-

Sports Illustrated: A

Washington Post: A

Indianapolis Colts

Value on value on value. That’s what defined the draft for the Colts this year. They stole safety Malik Hooker in the first round, then Quincy Wilson in the second round, and found good value in edge rusher Tarrell Basham in the third.

SB Nation grade: B

CBS Sports: B

USA Today: B-

Sports Illustrated: A

Washington Post: B+

Jacksonville Jaguars

In the first round, the Jaguars got the player who will likely be the favorite for offensive rookie of the year in running back Leonard Fournette. But that might only happen if second-round pick Cam Robinson comes along as expected.

SB Nation grade: B-

CBS Sports: B-

USA Today: B+

Sports Illustrated: B

Washington Post: A-

Kansas City Chiefs

The Chiefs are another team where the grade was determined on whether the grader liked the dramatic move up for Patrick Mahomes in the first round. The selection of running back Kareem Hunt was a favorite of most.

SB Nation grade: C

CBS Sports: B-

USA Today: B-

Sports Illustrated: B

Washington Post: B

Los Angeles Chargers

The Chargers graded out as having one of the best drafts, largely for taking guard Forrest Lamp in the second round. Wide receiver Mike Williams in the first round was a solid choice as well. Getting defensive back Desmond King with the 151st pick was an unquestioned steal.

SB Nation grade: B

CBS Sports: B+

USA Today: A-

Sports Illustrated: A

Washington Post: B+

Los Angeles Rams

The Rams might have garnered the worst grades of any team this year. After not having a first-round pick, the team added pieces for second-year quarterback Jared Goff. But neither Cooper Kupp nor Gerald Everett were in the top-three at their positions in this draft.

SB Nation grade: C

CBS Sports: C-

USA Today: D+

Sports Illustrated: C

Washington Post: B-

Miami Dolphins

How you view Miami’s draft is dependent on whether or not you thought they should take an offensive lineman in the first round instead of pass rusher Charles Harris. After him, the Dolphins got a group of solid, albeit maybe unspectacular players.

SB Nation grade: B-

CBS Sports: B+

USA Today: C+

Sports Illustrated: B

Washington Post: B-

Minnesota Vikings

The grades for Minnesota are all over the place. I liked the Vikings for getting a top-10 talent in Dalvin Cook in the second round. Offensive lineman Pat Elflein was considered a good pick as well. After that, the Vikings’ draft might not have many starters.

SB Nation grade: A

CBS Sports: C+

USA Today: B

Sports Illustrated: B+

Washington Post: B-

New England Patriots

New England had a light class after trading for veterans Brandin Cooks and Kony Ealy this offseason. Still, the team was able to find a couple of pass rushers in Derek Rivers and Deatrich Wise and good developmental offensive linemen in Antonio Garcia and Connor McDermott.

SB Nation grade: B+

CBS Sports: B

USA Today: A-

Sports Illustrated: C+

Washington Post: B

New Orleans Saints

The grades for the Saints varied after the selection of Marshon Lattimore in the first round. Ryan Ramczyk and Alvin Kamara might find it hard to get playing time early in their careers, and the team didn’t properly address pass rusher.

SB Nation grade: B

CBS Sports: B

USA Today: C+

Sports Illustrated: B+

Washington Post: A-

New York Giants

There are questions about New York’s draft. Did the Giants go away from their usual best-player-available mantra by taking tight end Evan Engram in the first round and defensive tackle Dalvin Tomlinson in the second? Did the Giants also miss out on a need by picking quarterback Davis Webb in the third round?

SB Nation grade: B-

CBS Sports: C

USA Today: C-

Sports Illustrated: B-

Washington Post: B

New York Jets

The Jets started off their draft weekend in excellent fashion, taking safety Jamal Adams at No. 6 overall. After that, much of the draft got panned. No quarterback and waiting until the sixth round to get a cornerback was confusing.

SB Nation grade: C+

CBS Sports: C+

USA Today: B+

Sports Illustrated: C-

Washington Post: B

Oakland Raiders

The evaluations of Oakland’s draft are uneven because of the mystery surrounding first-round pick Gareon Conley. The pick of safety Obi Melifonwu in the second round was a favorite.

SB Nation grade: B-

CBS Sports: B-

USA Today: C

Sports Illustrated: B-

Washington Post: C-

Philadelphia Eagles

On draft weekend, the Eagles proved you can draft for need. It just so happens when Philadelphia did, there was value in players like pass rusher Derek Barnett in the first round and cornerbacks Sidney Jones and Rasul Douglas on the draft’s second day. When grades get done again, Philadelphia’s might hinge on if Jones is healthy and playing as expected.

SB Nation grade: B-

CBS Sports: B+

USA Today: C+

Sports Illustrated: B+

Washington Post: B-

Pittsburgh Steelers

Some consider the pick of quarterback Joshua Dobbs in the fourth round the linchpin of this draft class. No pressure. Many liked first-round pick T.J. Watt, but it was knocked some because of the depth of pass rushers in this draft. Wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster is viewed as a good player but could have a limited role early in his NFL career.

SB Nation grade: B-

CBS Sports: B

USA Today: B

Sports Illustrated: C+

Washington Post: B+

San Francisco 49ers

First-year general manager John Lynch earned a lot of praise for the blockbuster first-round trade with the Bears. No team had a better cumulative grade than San Francisco. Mine is the lowest simply because the picks on the third day didn’t blow me away, and the quarterback group in San Francisco is poor.

SB Nation grade: B-

CBS Sports: A

USA Today: A

Sports Illustrated: A-

Washington Post: A

Seattle Seahawks

Did the Seahawks have a good draft, or did the graders fear a repeat of 2011 when Seattle was given a low grade in a draft that had linebacker K.J. Wright and cornerback Richard Sherman in the middle rounds? This draft was given good grades for taking defensive lineman Malik McDowell and offensive lineman Ethan Pocic in the second round.

SB Nation grade: B-

CBS Sports: B+

USA Today: B-

Sports Illustrated: B

Washington Post: B-

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Tampa Bay’s draft grade was carried on the selection of tight end O.J. Howard at No. 19. The pick of wide receiver Chris Godwin in the third round was also liked because he can take some pressure off veteran Mike Evans. I downgraded the draft because taking safety Justin Evans in the second round seemed high.

SB Nation grade: C+

CBS Sports: B+

USA Today: B

Sports Illustrated: B+

Washington Post: B+

Tennessee Titans

Did the Titans do enough in this draft to push for an AFC South title? That’s what one grader believes after the Titans picked up wide receiver Corey Davis and cornerback Adoree’ Jackson in the first round. Fifth-round pick Jayon Brown got some kudos because of his coverage ability as a linebacker and his special teams play.

SB Nation grade: B-

CBS Sports: B

USA Today: A-

Sports Illustrated: B+

Washington Post: B-

Washington

Washington got some of the highest scores this year after landing Alabama defensive lineman Jonathan Allen in the first round. That’s not the only reason why Washington’s report card is peppered with As. Running back Samaje Perine, a fourth-round pick, was well-liked.

SB Nation grade: A-

CBS Sports: B

USA Today: A-

Sports Illustrated: A-

Washington Post: B+


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